Convicted Felon Ask Google To Delist Multiple Government Websites Because His Name Is Protected By 'Common Law Trademark'

from the 'add-it-to-my-fuckups-tab' dept

You don’t often see the FBI’s website targeted by a DMCA takedown notice, but when you do, you can be sure there’s someone with a criminal record behind it. The last time we saw this happening, it was convicted fraudster Sean Gjerde, who thought he could perform his own reputation management by copy-pasting the FBI’s press release onto his own website as part of a “book” he was “writing,” and then begin issuing bogus takedown notices targeting content he didn’t create. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if not for all the reasons he was NEVER GOING TO GET AWAY WITH IT.

Enter Anthony Lewis Jerdine, someone with a bit of reputation to clean up. Over the past decade, Jerdine has been imprisoned for bank fraud, made the US Marshals fugitive list, been sanctioned for unauthorized practice of law, been called a vexatious litigant by the Ohio court system, and, lest we forget, formed a trust in his own name.

There are many reasons to form a trust. Jerdine’s reason — an apparent SEO gambit — is none of them. Jerdine, like many people who don’t understand search engines, the internet, intellectual property law, or the Streisand effect, seems to believe if he shouts “TRADEMARK and/or COPYRIGHT” loudly enough, magical things will happen.

Here’s the text of his DMCA takedown request, which compares favorably to the word salad periodically passed around Facebook as a supposed way for users to “reclaim” their copyrights from Big Blue.

Copyright of trade-name/trademark ANTHONY LEWIS JERFIBE TRUST including any and all derivatives and variations in the spelling, i.e. NOT limited to all capitalized names: ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE TRUST, JERDINE, ALJ, ANTHONY JERDINE, JERDINE ANTHONY, ANTHONY L. JERDINE, AJ JERDINE, ALJ JERDINE, ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE, or any derivatives thereof are under Copyright 1989. Said common-law trade-name/trademark, ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE TRUST

That’s the “description” of the “work” Jerdine feels Google should delist, somehow misconstruing his granted trust (obtained April 2016) to be an IP shelter for his tarnished name and any variation of it that might appear on sites where his criminal misdeeds have been detailed.

You might be able to copyright/trademark a name, but you can’t stop people from using it when writing about you. McDonald’s is a trademarked name, but anyone can write about McDonald’s without stepping on its IP protections. The same goes for Jerdine’s name, attached or unattached to his trust.

Because there’s no requirement that users understand the laws they’re invoking when filing takedown requests, Jerdine is asking Google to go ahead and delist ENTIRE websites simply because unfavorable things about him appear somewhere in their pages. In addition to demanding Google remove the FBI’s entire website from its listings, Jerdine also wants a large number of public records sites kicked (entirely) to the search results curb.

Jerdine is so concerned about the “misuse” of his name he can’t even be bothered to target the specific URLs containing information about him. Not that it matters, Google hasn’t delisted anything and Jerdine’s reputation, while under new mismanagement, hasn’t really gained any ground.

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Comments on “Convicted Felon Ask Google To Delist Multiple Government Websites Because His Name Is Protected By 'Common Law Trademark'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Sean Gjerde is a fucking moron. Nothing how he’s targeted the following domains in their entirety:

Just because he has a trademark on his name doesn’t mean that he can just make demands. What the fuck is he getting at? This ain’t mother effing Europe, where they have a right to be forgotten requirement for search engines.

This is the United States, and his conviction for fraud is news worthy information. This just seems like a cynical attack on the criminal justice system.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Sean Gjerde is a fucking moron. Nothing how he’s targeted the following domains in their entirety:”

You might want to consider yourself before you start attacking other people. First of all, Gjerde is the guy mentioned as being the one reported on last time a similar case came up. While that doesn’t stop him from being a moron, it also doesn’t make him Anthony Lewis Jerdine, the guy who made the takedown demand you’re complaining about.

Secondly, except for a chance to whine about Europe, nothing you said while copying and pasting half of the list from the article says anything that wasn’t said in the article. Perhaps the reason why the silly “right to be forgotten” hasn’t been attempted in the US is because you already have the DMCA, which can be happily abused to the same effect?

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Trust?

Replying to my own comment–no, the bogus trust has nothing to do with SEO. I still haven’t parsed through the 30+ pages of gibberish (and I’m pretty sure that making a serious attempt to do so would cause my head to explode), but the short of it is that it’s a gambit to attempt to register his independence from the government (at least at the federal, and quite possibly at the state and local levels as well). Here’s some further information on the subject for the truly interested:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Trust?

That sovereign citizen-thing seems to very correctly predict his history.

Is he a gold-standard-nut, a fourteenth amendment denier, member of a free sovereign society or some sort of more modern conspiracist?

Apart from what looks like elaborate fraud with several false documents, really exposing himself and others to a lot of jail-time, it seems he was a lobbyist giving legal advise to a company after he had achieved status as a corporation and somehow thought that might give him a right to practice law…

So we are probably talking something like the gold standard-variety here.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Ignoring you’d be some sort of wizard if you managed to fool any internet body into blocking your own Government websites”

Not really. All you’d have to do is jump in when the **AAs have finally had them ordered them to do automated DMCA removals to go with their automated DMCA notices, and watch the carnage unfold. After which, it’ll still be Google’s fault, somehow.

“Targeting a cdn shows how badly he understands IP laws.”

Maybe, or maybe he just understand how badly the courts understand technology and doesn’t think it’s too far-fetched for the courts to find in his favour if he gets there. Or, he just understand that there’s no real penalty for false DMCA notices, so he might as well put everything he can think of in there no matter how unrelated.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sovereign Citizenry is just something that idiots came up with because they don’t want to follow the rules and laws that the rest of us have to abide by. How much do you want to bet that law enforcement throughout the entire country would arrest them on the spot for violating the law.

The way I see it? I toss any moron who calls himself a “sovereign citizen” into the same cooking pot as the “aluminum foil hats” and “conspiracy theorist” fruitcakes that infest our society.

Anonymous Coward says:

The “US Marshals fugitive list,” link returns a 404.

Searching for “Jerdine” on the webpage returns a link to an article titled “U.S. marshals looking for theft-fraud suspect |” but clicking on that link returns to the same 404 page.

Another article on the same site, one about the Marshals catching him, is also 404’d

It looks to be just a coincidence, as it seems many articles on that site older than a few years all go to 404 pages.

mrtraver (profile) says:

“Jerdine, like many people who don’t understand search engines, the internet, intellectual property law, or the Streisand effect, seems to believe if he shouts “TRADEMARK and/or COPYRIGHT” loudly enough, magical things will happen.”

Too often this is true, with today’s enforcement agencies and judicial system putting the burden of proof on the accused.

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